Saturday, January 15, 2011

Part 2: Hope and Devastation

Well after my 1st acupuncture treatment... I immediately noticed a change in my mood the following day... I was more upbeat and in a generally good mood and had more energy for the following 2 days than I've had in a while. Even my coworkers noticed. Then cd13 was my 2nd appointment... but before I went, earlier in the day, I noticed something I hadn't had recently.... (TMI alert).... GOBS of EWCM on the toilet paper when I wiped... I mean it literally looked like an egg white was on the toilet paper.... and I had never had EWCM this early in my cycle (I usually get it a few days before ovulation and ovulation was around cd 18 for the year I was off BCP), nor this amount... I was shocked, and excited that this may indeed be working :).Since I read that it can take a couple cycles for acupuncture to have an effect, I hadn't been expecting much out of that cycle and Ken was scheduled to get an SA that afternoon. Well, he ended up needing to reschedule his SA and was able to come home and take advantage of all that EWCM! I didn't ovulate though until two days later so I figured, oh well, didn't think it would happen this month anyways. So I continued charting but wasn't trying to read in to my temps as I have tried before and secretly hoping maybe it worked. I felt really tired towards the end of the TTW and my temp did a strange thing on cd 11 which looked like an implantation dip, but I thought those were supposed to be earlier. I decided to test early... BFN on cd12. I wanted to try again the next day just in case... and there it was... a very faint second line! I didn't even believe it and woke Ken up to look at it too. I actually didn't really think it was true. After all the BFN's it was surreal to actually see two lines. I tested again the next day and the lines were more visible. This was real.... we were finally pregnant. 

The timing was perfect. Right after I found out, we got the email at school about letter's of intent for the following year. Mine would be easy... we'd been working so hard to pay off bills so that I could stay home and we had accomplished that goal.... I didn't need to work anymore. So I turned in my letter of resignation. I was going to miss my coworkers greatly, and miss teaching... but I wouldn't miss the stress, the attitudes, and the exhaustion. Everything was falling into place at just the right time... I was so happy.

Then I started spotting a little... I didn't worry at first because lots of other people told me they had some spotting and it was fine so I thought it was normal. It wasn't. I got some blood-work done and my progesterone was only 3.9 (VERY low... so low I didn't know why I hadn't already miscarried). Four days later, I miscarried. We were devastated. My doctor was concerned it might be ectopic because of my HCG levels so I went in for an ultrasound to check. The ultrasound showed a collapsing, empty sac in my uterus... at only 6 weeks the baby would have been small, but nothing was there. Perhaps it had already reabsorbed... or stopped growing long before and wasn't big enough to see. The term for it is a blighted ovum... conception occurs, but the fetus doesn't grow, or stops growing at some early point. The "good news", my doctor says, is at least we know I can get pregnant. 

I cried a lot that week. I was so thankful that Ken was home when everything happened and we could be together during that tough time. I also have an amazing support system in my family and friends. I am so blessed to have had so many people supporting me and helping me through this time. And although I know that something was not right with that pregnancy and that everything happens for a reason.... that's not something anyone wants to hear when they've just had a miscarriage... it's not comforting. Something along the lines of: I'm sorry, this really sucks, if anyone deserves to have kids it's you guys.... that's what you say to comfort someone who's just miscarried. 

Back to square one....

Friday, January 14, 2011

Part 1:The Beginning

So basically we've tried everything under the sun for the last year and a half and still have no baby to show for it.

I've been on prenatal vitamins since I got off the pill in Jan 09. Once we really started trying in the summer, I read What to Expect Before You're Expecting and Taking Charge of Your Fertility (excellent book I would recommend for all women to read whether TTC or not) and was doing everything "right". I ate healthy, tried to limit stress, stayed away from alcohol and caffeine, took my vitamins and DHA, had Ken taking vitamins too (multi, C & zinc), tried varying our "attempts" (ED, EOD, E36hrs)... and nothing.

I did find that some fertility boosting foods seemed to help with my CM (baby carrots, sweet potatoes, and grapefruit juice help). By charting, I know that I ovulate every month, we have good timing (despite Ken's crazy work schedule), my LP is long enough, and my FSH is normal (per at home test).

Well, I thought maybe the stress of teaching and some family drama around the holidays may have been hindering our chances... so I decided to try something that would help boost fertility and help me with stress at the same time.... acupuncture. It had been a year since going off the pill (now Jan 10), with 6 months of good timing, and I wanted to make sure I had tried everything before my annual with my OBGYN in April. As always, I like to have all my ducks in a row. Ken was even able to get an SA done so we could make sure everything was ok on his end too.
I had remembered at my last annual exam, my OBGYN mention that his wife did acupuncture.... so I did my research and decided it was worth a try. The cost is similar to a massage (which I was getting quite often due to stress ruining my neck/shoulders) so I figured I'd give it a try. She is my OBGYN's wife, so I knew I could trust her.

My first acupuncture treatment was on January cycle day 6 and I was nervous and a little skeptical as to whether or not it would actually help. I had to fill out a long questionnaire about my general health since Traditional Chinese Medicine is a holistic approach... treating the whole body and all symptoms. So even though I was getting treated mainly for fertility, she was going to help other areas of my health that needed it (i.e. my stress level, anxiety, muscle tension, energy level, etc). I have to say.... acupuncture is awesome and I highly recommend it to anyone who has an ailment they'd like help with. I barely felt the needles and it's the only thing that has ever really relaxed me (other than sleeping!). I got some Chinese herbs to take once a day and several handouts and suggestions about foods to eat/avoid, including these articles:
I had already been eating most of the foods on the "do eat" list and it was no biggie to add in the others since I'm already a pretty healthy eater anyways.  The hardest part... no more wheat. Which essentially means a gluten-free diet. And cut back on dairy (no more eating all the cheese I usually ate).... and only full fat dairy a few times a week. I never realized how much dairy I ate or how many things have wheat or gluten in them until I had to give it up. But I felt so much better after my diet change and now that I am a pro at this gluten-free thing (3 great cookbooks and thank God for all the gluten-free options at Whole Foods), it's really not all that bad (just more expensive.  And if it helps me get pregnant, it will all be worth it. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Timeline

Here's the "brief" synopsis of our journey so far...

January 2009 - I'm going off the pill, I want to get everything out of my system so when we start trying it won't take long (if only).

April 2009 - Not really preventing anymore... but not really getting the right timing either.

July 2009 - 1st month officially trying... I've been charting my temperature, got my OPK kit... I'm so gonna get pregnant right away, I mean, everyone else in our families have.

August 2009 - Ok, maybe it'll just take a couple months.

September 2009 - 3rd time's the charm?

October 2009 - Ok, so everyone is telling us to just relax, don't think about it, get drunk, have fun, blah blah blah... so here goes... weekend trip to GA mountains... staying in a cabin... armed with wine... going to relax and try to just "let it happen"... not temping or using OPKs this month.

November 2009 - All well meaning advice is not working, and at least now I can say "I already tried that". This not temping thing is more stressful for me than temping... it helps me to know when I ovulated, so just let me do my thing!

December 2009 - So I'm just going to chart until I know I've ovulated, then stop so I don't try to read too much into my temps. Ken and I both have time off over the holidays... this has got to be our month.

January 2010 - So I've been off the pill for a year and although we haven't officially been trying a year, if you've been charting and timing properly... 6 months ought to do it. Sent Ken for SA, I'm starting acupuncture with my OBGYN's wife... I go weekly, have to drastically change my diet (no wheat/gluten, cut back on dairy on only full fat dairy when I have it... and lots more), and take Chinese herbs 3 times a day.
HOLY COW! BFP!!! Well we weren't expecting it... only got to try once before I ovulated... but it worked! Put in my notice... not teaching next year, going to stay home and raise babies.

February 2010 - Devastated... miscarriage at 6 weeks. Don't ever tell someone who just miscarried: "At least you know you can get pregnant"... gee thanks, I know I can lose it too.
SA results = all numbers are great... except morphology, which is low :(. Ken starts taking a bunch more vitamins/supplements.
Still not coming back to teach... maybe less stress will help.....

March 2010 - So the next 3 months are supposedly "super fertile" months... and with me still doing acupuncture... it's got to happen again soon, right?

April 2010 - Maybe we'll have a Christmas baby....

May 2010 - This is it, this is so our month....

June 2010 - This year SUCKS... sending Ken to acupuncture too

July 2010 - Ok, no more stress... I'm not teaching anymore... super stress involving Ken's job is over....still nothing

August 2010 - So I really thought I'd be pregnant by now... time to find a job to pay for acupunture since my last paycheck from teaching is at the end of the month

September 2010 - Started at Target working at the Starbucks and was offered a better position in HR! Everything seems to be falling into place... it won't be long now....

October 2010 - I'm so over this... I should have had a baby this month :(

November 2010 - Had the same symptoms as Jan and even a similar temp pattern.... but BFN

December 2010 - Ken has leave again... going to try to just enjoy each other and hope maybe we get a Christmas miracle... if not, I've got an appointment for Jan to see my OBGYN
2nd SA = overall numbers still good, morphology improved slightly but still borderline low, and motility dropped to low :(
Ken gets another acupuncture treatment

January 2011 - Cycle 19... time to get some more answers and a serious plan.... getting tests done on me... not TTC this month

Lots of other stuff happened... some TTC related, some not.... more to come.

Where do I begin?

Ok, so I've started a blog... not sure if anyone will read it seeing as I haven't told anyone about it... but I'm ok with that right now. Although I know this is the internet so who knows. Several of my friends have said maybe I should write a book, so I guess this is my version of a book (and since I can go on and on about a lot... it may seem like a book!). 

Now, since my plan is to blog about my adventures in TTC... I'm going to have to go back to the beginning and it's likely it will take me a while to catch up to where we are now.

Be warned to anyone actually reading this... I am a very open person but I will try not to over share too much :).